, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 453-464

Stage-Specific Behavioral Responses of Ageneotettix deorum (Orthoptera: Acrididae) in the Presence of Lycosid Spider Predators

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Abstract

Grasshoppers must gather food while avoiding size-selective predation from other arthropods, especially spiders, potentially leading to a trade-off between foraging and defensive behaviors. This trade-off becomes less intense as prey grow larger and are less susceptible to arthropod predation. Activity budgets were constructed for three nymphal (third- to fifth- instar) and adult life cycle stages of Ageneotettix deorum, a common rangeland grasshopper, for three conditions of predation risk by lycosid spiders (spider absence, spider presence, and presence of a nonlethal, chelicerae-modified spider). In third and fourth instars, exposure to predators resulted in reduced feeding activity, increased time spent in antipredator and defensive behaviors, and reduced general activity compared to individuals not exposed to spiders. No significant shifts in behaviors were observed for fifth-instar nymphs and adult A. deorum in response to spider presence. Activity levels in functional spiders and chelicerae-modified spiders were statistically indistinguishable.